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The Pros and Cons of Cleansing Your Scalp With Baking Soda Shampoo

Baking soda in a bowl with a lemon wedge.

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Let us guess: Whenever your hair feels lifeless or weighed down from product buildup, you try to remedy the issue with your usual shampoo or give your scalp a quick clean up with dry shampoo. But on some occasions, the options in your shower just don't seem to do the trick. We've all been there.

If you're currently fighting this seemingly never-ending cycle, what you need is a clarifying cleanser or treatment. Most stylists recommend investing in a separate clarifying shampoo. It can be difficult to justify spending the money on a special shampoo that you only use occasionally, but what if we said you didn't have to? 

As it turns out, the secret to a deep clean is an ingredient likely sitting in your pantry right now: baking soda.

Piling on the product isn't always the best way to handle hair that won't cooperate. On the contrary, sometimes what your strands really need is a little detox, and that's exactly what baking soda does for your hair. As a natural clarifying agent, baking soda works to clean hair by gently removing the buildup from each strand. But before you go sprinkling the powder all over yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind before giving it a try. Keep reading to find out not only how to make your own baking soda shampoo but how to use it.

Benefits of Washing Your Hair with Baking Soda

Using baking soda shampoo has many plus sides. It contains no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, diethanolamine, dyes, or fragrance. Instead, it is made of a single, all-natural ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Unlike some hair products that leave a filmy buildup on the hair, baking soda clarifies and helps to keep your hair free of dandruff. And the best part? It costs basically nothing. 

Make Your Own Baking Soda Shampoo

Making baking soda shampoo isn't as complicated as you might think. The recipe below only requires two common household ingredients and is quite possibly the simplest DIY shampoo mixture you'll ever try.

  1. Mix together 1 part baking soda with 3 to 4 parts water to form a paste. Experiment to see which mixture and consistency you like best.
  2. Scrub the paste into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for a minute or two; then rinse clean.
  3. Finish with an apple cider vinegar rinse to restore the pH balance of your hair and scalp and to add shine to your strands.

Mix Up a Fresh Batch 

Baking soda "shampoo" works best when it's mixed right before you use it. Pick up a small travel-size bottle or reuse a bottle that you already have and whip up enough for a single wash. With just a scoop of baking soda, a bit of water, and a quick shake, you're ready to jump in the shower.

Give Your Hair Time to Adjust 

Some commercial shampoos can strip your hair of its natural oils, causing your scalp to overproduce oil. Baking soda doesn't do this (and that's a good thing). So don't be surprised if your hair feels greasier (or drier) than usual when you first make the switch. As soon as your body adjusts, your hair will look and feel better and can stay clean longer, too. Most baking soda shampooers find that they only need to wash their hair a few times a week.

The Bottom Line

For some hair types, baking soda can be a little too drying if overdone and shouldn't necessarily serve as a replacement for your everyday shampoo. However, it can be an effective weekly treatment or a natural alternative on the days when you want to switch up your cleanser.

Whether you choose to add the kitchen ingredient to your routine as a cleansing booster or in place of your shampoo on occasion, this easy baking soda shampoo recipe might just be the easy and budget-friendly refresh your hair needs.

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